It’s Saturday morning – late August, which means the possibility of a climbing heat index punishing anyone daring to venture outdoors. On any other day such as this I would gladly be counting my blessings to stay curled up a lil bit longer under my covers (well that is unless there was a good game of sand v-ball going on up in the north part of town – but that would be about the only power to stir my senses!)
But not today – not this morning – NO, today something else is causing me to rise early (yeah for me 7:45 AM on a Saturday is early, make all thejokes you like) – it isn’t the smell of bacon or the aroma of some crazy italian flavored coffee – it’s not even the heavenly scent of “hot & fresh” Krispy Kreme’s – no it is something entirely different.
You see it is the sweet smell of sweat – well okay not exactly – not that I am already sweating at that moment – but it is very real potential that I am going to easily burn through the sweat capacity of 1 shirt and pair of shorts and surrender to the comfort of a 2nd shirt for the day. And why you may ask – or more importantly WHERE will all of this take place?
Well it will all go down – just a mere 8 miles (can I get a witness from my boy Eminem??) from my house here in the ATL area – cause you see that is where the Northwest GA YWCA is located. And that is where some of my good friends and community group members from Christ’s Church at Cobb and I will be heading to do our damage. I’m not even sure when or how we got connected with them, but we did and now here we are. Trying to stay committed to going over and working 1 Saturday morning every month or at least every other month. We are never quite sure what it will be, mostly yard work (which included fighting a swarm of bees in a dead tree) or painting, our hauling junk out of old buildings or a myriad of other interesting activities.
It is an awesome time of coming together to serve, to fellowship, to have fun (yeah even in the midst of the heat and the work and the sweat – we still find time for fun – but I might say not “in the midst of” but especially BECAUSE OF all those things – because we are doing it all TOGETHER). It is also a great time to realize how much we have to be thankful for and to be humbled by the lives of others who are experiencing some tough circumstances of the fallen state of this world. It is also encouraging to realize the difference that a few coming together can make.
We found out this last time that the local YWCA has a maintenance guy on stuff (which we already knew) but what we didn’t realize was that (probably due to funding) he is only able to work 1 day a week about 8 hours in that day. So during any given money he probably is able to work between 30-40 hours. During this one day – our 11 people who showed up to work TOGETHER – put in about 35 hours – so in ONE DAY – in about a 4 hour window – we were able to accomplish what this 1 man is able to do in an ENTIRE MONTH!
WOW – that hit home pretty hard – and struck me deeply at the power of working together, of sacrificing a tiny bit of time and effort and the HUGE results that are able to come from this. But that is what I love about the heartbeat and the DNA of our church family and my community group – sometimes due to the schedule of life it makes it tough to be together BUT WHEN WE DO – GREAT THINGS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED!
So that is exactly WHY we were @ the “Y”!
But I also learned a lil What @ the “Y” as well.
A biblical principle struck me as we mowed grass, killed bees and ants, edged walks, trimmed bushes, cut & mounted shelves and all the other activities that were taking place. You see we had each made a CONSCIOUS DECISION to be there, to fellowship, to laugh, to encourage, to sweat, TO SERVE. No one had forced us (although some might say that desire to love & serve God and show gratitude with our lives COMPELS us to be there – the reality is that it was OUR CHOICE to be there).
Another group was there “volunteering” as well. This was a group of young men who were part of a community service project. For whatever reason, each of these young men had done something that had caused them to be in trouble with the law – and now were being “given a choice” in some realms but basically forced to serve. To serve in some aspect in the community – a determined number of hours. This is done in order to make up for whatever crimes they have committed and is a way to avoid spending time in jail or a juvenile facility.
So there we were 2 very different groups – basically serving the same organization – helping the same cause – expending the same energy – sweating the same fluids – BUT OUR MOTIVATIONS were birthed out of VERY DIFFERENT emotions.
As I was working and thinking through what was taking place on the grounds that day – I couldn’t help but be reminded of a powerful passage found in Philippians 2:9-11
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is what I believe this passage is saying: There is coming a day where EVERY knee will bow & EVERY tongue confess, EVERY person, EVERY creature – EVERYONE – EVERYWHERE, will ultimately confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Since on that day it will be a time of reckoning, where it will happen by FORCE – why not let my life be one that confesses it all right now by CHOICE.
Just as their were 2 groups working at the same place that saturday – 1 was there by FORCE and 1 was there by CHOICE and we all – each and every one of us, have that same option for serving, bowing, confessing about Jesus as Lord and Savior – we can do it NOW by CHOICE or be disheartened when one day it will happen by FORCE.
I’m not sure about you – but I know for me – I want to be a part of the right now by CHOICE; instead of the later by FORCE. So not only do I share about my “Why @ the ‘Y'” I also felt I needed to share my “What @ the ‘Y'” – to remind myself of the awesome aspect of CHOICE that God gives – so let me continue to choose to serve and obey till He returns!